Growing your own avocado tree can be a lot of fun. It takes a bit of patience (it can take around 3 or 4 months before they even start to sprout roots), but you should be rewarded with a lovely leafy indoor plant.
It can take years for an avocado plant to branch out into a full tree and even longer before they bear fruit…IF they do indeed bear fruit at all (many avocado trees don’t produce fruit). So grow an avocado tree from seed for the fun of it, not with the expectation that it will provide you with fruit.
If you are like me and enjoy growing things (I LOVE growing things so much, I’m now running out of space!), start saving your avocado seeds asap and get ready to grow one of your own.
There are a few ways to grow an avocado tree from seed. You can suspend the seed in a container of water or place it in a pot of soil. To grow it in water (also known as hydroponics), you have three options; you can use any old clear glass jar and suspend the seed over water with cocktail sticks/toothpicks, or you can use a bulb vase (a jar used for growing hyacinths etc) which is shaped to hold bulbs above water level or you could try one of the new purpose made AvoSeedo devices. The latter is new to the market and apparently has excellent success rates. However, the other options are way cheaper. Lets look at these 4 methods individually….
1. A jar of water and cocktail sticks
Any old jar or glass will do, just make sure it is clean. You can use a plastic container of similar size but it has less success rate.
Follow our step by step guide
1. First wash the seed well, make sure all of the avocado flesh is removed as if it is not, it will rot.
2. Next work out which end is the top and which end is the bottom. Avocado seeds are slightly oval; the broader end is the bottom and this is where the root will shoot from, this end goes in the water.
3. Firmly push 3 cocktail sticks into the top end of the avocado seed at an angle of around 45 degrees. The toothpicks will be used to balance the seed so only the bottom half is immersed in the water.
4. Fill the jar with enough water to cover the bottom half of the seed. Lukewarm or room temperature water is best.
5. Position the jar in a bright spot but not in direct sunlight (I use a north facing windowsill).
6. Change the water once or twice a week. Keep a look out for any tinges of green in the water or around the seed. If so, change the water and wipe green mould away. Mould is the biggest risk to the success of the seed at this point.
7. The seed will eventually crack (be patient, this can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months), the brown outer coating will begin to peel off, and finally you will see a root sprout from the bottom and then a little later you should see a stem sprout from the top.
8. Once the plant grows to around 15-20cm in height you can transfer it into soil. You can also nip off the growing tip at this point so that it will grow bushier rather than leggy.
9. Once it is established, gradually provide it with more sunlight; avocado plants love sun (but only once it is established, as too much direct light can burn seedlings).
I have had mixed success with this method; I’d say probably around 50/50 chance of successful germination. Quite often the seed turns green either before or just after it has sprouted; I think it is probably due to the abrasion caused by the cocktail sticks which allows fungus/mould to take hold of the seed. But it is always a fun experiment and worth a try if you’ve just made guacamole and are about to chuck a seed in the bin .
2. A bulb jar
Also known as a hyacinth carafe, these glass hydroponic vases are perfect for starting avocado seeds; they are just the right size to hold the seed. If you have one lying around, they are great for this purpose. Or you can check bulb jars out here on Amazon.
This method is just the same as above, leave out the third step, as the shape of the jar replaces the need for toothpicks. Make sure the water level covers the bottom half of the seed. This is a very quick and easy method.
I have had a lot of success with this method; the abrasion from the cocktail sticks in the cocktail stick method can sometimes cause mould/fungus to affect the success of the seed; these jars are perfect for the purpose. Clean a seed, pop it in, fill with water, that’s it.
3. An Avoseedo
These are new to the market and apparently have a massive success rate. When I first saw them advertised, I was sceptical. However, I have spoken to lots of people recently who have been raving about them. What on earth are they, I hear you say. Read on….
AvoSeedo is a small plastic bowl that features an indentation with a hole in it. A single avocado seed can be inserted with the flat end facing down. Afterwards; AvoSeedo can be placed in a sufficiently large; water-filled pot. Due to its low weight and high displacement; AvoSeedo will remain at the surface all the time; as the water level lowers; AvoSeedo will sink accordingly. With AvoSeedo; you can significantly raise the success rate when it comes to avocado germination. Without any risk; you can decrease the watering intervals drastically. Only from time to time you will have to check the water level of the pot containing AvoSeedo plus avocado seed. Compared to the original toothpick method; there’s another advantage: the avocado seed doesn’t need to be perforated; reducing the risk of damage (and thus; failed germination efforts). And finally; AvoSeedo features a mounting that can be used to attach small flags. These can be inscribed with the date when germination started; with strain names or with additional information. Thus; you can easily keep track; even when germinating several avocado seeds at the same time.
- Grow your own avocado tree
- Easy to use, peel the avocado pit; put it into the AvoSeedo and presto; its ready to go
- No attention needed due to the clever design of the AvoSeedo it needs minimal attention
- Great design easy to use with a great design that looks just like a real avocado
- Highly durable the AvoSeedo will last for years as its made from super strong non-toxic plastic.
I haven’t tried these myself yet (I have about 7 or 8 sprouting avocado plants at the minute so I just haven’t had the need to purchase one), but I have heard very good things about them. You don’t need to keep checking the water level; the device floats on water, therefore you don’t need to worry if water evaporates slightly. If you aren’t having success with the other hydroponic methods, maybe this is worth a go.
4. A pot of compost
So, what is the best way to grow an avocado plant from seed?
In my experience, the best method to root an avocado seed is in water; it’s just easier to keep an eye on what’s happening with the roots so you can identify any problems. I personally think the Avoseedo is a novelty item and not really worth the money. I like the bulb jar method, and there’s nothing wrong with the cocktail stick method either; you probably won’t have success every time but as it doesn’t cost you anything, it is worth having a go. The soil method is also worth a try, perhaps you will have more success than me.
Finally, no matter which method you choose, be prepared to wait, they don’t sprout overnight. Quite often I have been about to give up on a seed and a week or two later it will finally crack open! My motto is: if it hasn’t gone green/black/fuzzy/furry/smelly/slimey, then just wait longer.
It is so rewarding when you finally have a little tree that you have grown form scratch. Good luck!
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